Local biodiesel makes sense

by: TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO LE BASKOW, Marshall Claussen of Star Oilco connects hose for biodiesel delivery at Jay’s Garage. The price the city pays for Oregon-grown biodiesel has jumped more than $2, to about $6.75 a gallon, even as regular gas prices have dropped $2 a gallon. Letter-writing criticize the city’s contract.

How about this, Portland - allow some of your restaurants to defray their business taxes by giving the city their waste cooking oil (City pays more for biodiesel, Dec. 4). Start making your own biodiesel and waste vegetable oil here in the city, instead of trucking the substrates from across the state.

That might make a little more environmental sense.

Eric Lee


Let's worry about Portland first

The city of Portland needs to worry about the city of Portland, not farmers in Eastern Oregon (City pays more for biodiesel, Dec. 4). Hey, let's ask the farmers, bureaucrats, and fuel suppliers what they think about the city paying too much for gas. Seventy cents more for regular at 9,000 gallons equals $6,300 per month or $75,600 per year (minimum). What kind of lunatic enters into a contract like that?

Ryan Rodrigues


Paying more is bad business

This is just one more reason why I won't live in the city of Portland (City pays more for biodiesel, Dec. 4). The city leaders are patently unable to understand and apply basic principles of business, apparently in the never-ending search for social justice. Economy be damned.

Rick M. Wessell

Unincorporated Washington County

There's a better use for our money

Well, now we know why positions are being cut from some of the agencies: because the city of Portland pays $7 a gallon for fuel (City pays more for biodiesel, Dec. 4). I currently pay $2.65 a gallon at the pump. Just think how many potholes could be filled with that $7 or how many new and safer streets could be done or new sidewalks put in or parks fixed up. And new employees to repair the current structures that are there. Just remember: it is not the city employees who do this, but the elected officials.

Brent King


It's better to have backup

The idea is to give security officers the tools they need before that problem needs to be solved (Armed guards increase risks, My View, Dec. 4)

I agree with Mr. Silberstein that patients at any hospital need care and compassion. Whether a security guard has a firearm or not, he/she should be professional at all times.

I would suggest to the people planning to arm the folks at Oregon Health and Science University that they have an unarmed force who work with the patients and a well-trained armed force that can jump in just in case things get bad - similar to a jail.

The use of lethal force is a rarity among law enforcement, despite what you see on TV. Time is a huge factor in those few times you need to use lethal force, so having well-trained armed guards nearby is a good thing.

Bart Bradish


Placebo sharks looking for prey

Derek Lipman and Mark Kallgren are two educated sharks looking for less-educated dummies (Placebo a day keeps doctor away, Nov. 27). Of course, fructose will help the skinny dummies become fat dummies, like we need more fat dummies in Oregon. These two are shameless and must have evolved from a shameless group of sharks.

Dan Maher

Southeast Portland

Shock doctrine shakes up school safety

The process of closing and reconfiguring schools that Portland Public Schools has undertaken was rushed in such a 'Shock Doctrine'-like fashion that the school board did not consider issues like student safety, traffic congestion and equity (Unsafe passage?, Dec. 4).

I support Binnsmead families and their protests over unsafe school crossings due to the closure of Clark Elementary School. There have been many petitions, rallies, protests and letters sent to the PPS school board as a result of these closures and reconfigurations.

In fact, not only did PPS not follow its own school closure policies, the school board also did not follow the nine-month process detailed in the city schools policy. The board and superintendent failed to follow the city zoning code at 10 schools, most often failing to apply for a conditional land-use review as required. As a result, these PPS school reconfigurations have generated more than 150 valid zoning complaints, which are being held in abeyance while the Portland Bureau of Development Services, Bureau of Planning and PPS attorneys devise some sort of 'legislative solution' to give PPS retroactive immunity from zoning code violations.

Beside Binnsmead, the other reconfigurations and closures of PPS schools which were in violation of the zoning code are: Jefferson High School (eighth grade to remain in 2009-10 school year); Madison High School (eighth grade academy closing at the end of the year due to violation of code); Franklin High School (eighth grade academy closing at the end of the year due to violation of code); Ockley Green Middle School (added elementary grades to middle school without land-use review); Tubman Middle School (added high school grades to middle school without land-use review); Gregory Heights Middle/Roseway Heights (added elementary grades from closed Rose City Park to middle school without land-use review); Fernwood Middle School (added elementary grades 2 through 5 to middle school without land-use review); Portsmouth Middle School (added elementary grades without land-use review); Whitaker Lakeside (placed NAYA school on land that was zoned industrial without land-use review).

Steve Linder

Southwest Portland

City investment will win ultimate payoff

If the city needs to contribute a percentage of the construction costs to lure a $200 million plus project, then I think the whole city wins (Burnside project may get new life, Dec. 4). Think about it: The Brewery Blocks, which the city invested a similar amount in, now generates $2 million to $3 million a year in property taxes, and has since 2004. Then, add this amount to the increases in surrounding property values and taxes in the district. Without the original city investment, we would still have a derelict brewery building or a development that couldn't reach its highest and best use.

Some may not like the development of the Brewery Blocks, and many locals don't like the Pearl District. But city money was leveraged to help build out this neighborhood. If we consider the difference between attracting big investment and doing nothing, well, I think the argument is moot.

That said, it is difficult to explain how this system pays off and works, but the efforts of Metro, the Portland Development Commission and the city of Portland has created this iconic city. Portland is internationally known as a model of urban planning and city investment. Sometimes I think people forget how beautiful this city is and how much is due to the tireless and passionate work of the city government.

Pasqual Contreras

Northwest Portland

Howling isn't building our roads

Bill Sizemore lives by the motto that 'any publicity is good publicity' (The jig's up for unions, Sizemore, On the Town, Dec. 4). He and his wife chose to turn this problem into an asset.

Sizemore chose not to file tax documents for his foundation, just as he has thumbed his nose at many other laws. I, for one, now hope he sees the full effect of the lies he told the IRS and that his rich backers each get a good IRS audit for claiming him as a deduction.

The bad part is that his 'I hate government' backers have another chance to howl while they drive on roadways built and maintained for them, drink safe water provided for them and use toilets without digging a pit. If any of these government employee-provided services offend them, there are lots of locations where they don't have these services that they might move.

Dennis Lively


Council service really pays off

I would like to know how someone can earn a retirement of $48,000 per year after only 14 years of service (A rebel's rise, Dec. 11)? Members of the military must serve at least 20 years and then they only get 50 percent of their pay.

How can the local taxpayers possibly afford to pay a retirement that might last 40 years for only 14 years of service when they all have to work many decades with no guarantee that their return will be anywhere near what Leonard's is?

Kevin Slattery


Forget the stadium, help the needy

The city and county are hurting for money for basic services, but are trying to find money for stadiums and hotels instead of helping needy people (Vote's over, but cash fight brews, Sources Say, Dec. 11). Is that what we elected these clowns for?

Jim Karlock

Northeast Portland